United Church of Canada to come out with counter ads.

*Update* Go have your say in their Yes/No poll!

Leave it to the United Church of Canada to come out and counter our ads. I think this is a really exciting new development. They’re hoping their ads have the same effect as ours – to spring up discussion in the public. I’ve been a member of their site wonder cafe for many years now because it’s proven time and again to be a really great place to have this exact discussion (and many others) with believers who have an open mind.  I’m just hoping they don’t pour  too much money into their campaign making our ads way more obscure than theirs.

Although, the discussion surrounding the ad on their website is way ….below…what I’ve found their usual conversation to be, I expected the people there to actually talk about it instead of just saying it is a silly and useless comment. I’d love to hear their intelligent thoughts surrounding the message instead of them just assuming that we’re attacking them.

With silly comments like “there’s probably no science” and “why aren’t they attacking Muslims” it’s very easy to brush the entire thread off as more people who aren’t interested in opening their mind up to new ideas and actually talking to us about the meat of the issues. However, there are a couple people on there going against that statement. Such as…


I’m with those who see this as an opening for discussion. To me the sign is not funny so much as it is a statement, “Hey, look, we really DO live in a country that supports free speech, if the exercise does not take away the fundamental rights of others.”

Posted on: 01/21/2009 15:50

Alas – Good on you, UCC!

80 thoughts on “United Church of Canada to come out with counter ads.”

  1. Patricia, funny you should mention C.S. Lewis. One of the religious books that influenced me the most when I was a gullible and practising Christian (Roman Catholic) teen was precisely by C.S. Lewis, namely, “The Screwtape Letters”. As you will recall, it is an account of letters from a senior to a junior devil about how to tempt people. Now I realize that Lewis never pretended these letters were real. But he was quite in earnest that invisible devils are out to tempt us so that we can go to Hell where they will consume and torture us eternally.

    I read this book while I was in what Catholics call a “closed retreat” where you stay in residence and get preached at for three or four days. Since we were all horny teenaged boys, the priest preaching the retreat made a point of telling us about the horrors of Hell for those who do not obey the sexual rules of the Church and save themselves for marriage. I remember him telling us about being called out to an accident where two young people had been killed at the moment they were screwing in the back seat, and about how their souls were now in Hell for all eternity.

    To make things worse, I was aware that I was gay. So that meant I must spend my entire life sexless, without even solitary sex, or go to Hell.

    Do you know how impossible it is for the average, heathy teenaged boy never to “touch himself impurely”? Religion is a guilt-machine meant to frighten and destabilize poeple to render them obedient.

    It took me YEARS of psychoanalysis to rid myself of the internalized homophobia, to learn to love myself and stop worrying about this non-existent God roasting my fag ass in his torture chamber.

    Perhaps if I had seen an ad like the proposed bus ads, I might have emerged from the nightmare of religion into the light and freedom of atheism sooner and more easily. If there is another kid like I was be out there who can be spared years of suffering by these ads, the money I have been donating to the atheist bus campaign will be worth it.

    Every cent I give, I give in memory of the harmless, innocent kid I was who was terrorized and traumitized by religion.

  2. Religion is not based on fear and worry? According to Christian Doctrine, God runs the largest, most elaborate, most ghastly torture chamber in all creation. People are punished there with horrible, never-ending pain for all eternity (even though their misdeeds, however bad, were of finite duration).

    Now please, don’t bother splitting hairs with me that God does not run Hell, Satan does. That is like the Inquisition saying that they never burnt anyone, they merely turned them over to the secular arm and allowed them to do so. Satan and Hell are part of God’s creation, and he allows them to exist, so can the technical crap.

    BTW, does it not strike you as odd the while civilized nations are struggling to end torture on Earth, and while this anti-torture movement is often spearheaded by majoritively atheist and secular countries in western Europe, torture continues to be used by the God-fearing USA, by Muslim countries, and by God himself, who created the ultimate place of torture?

  3. You know, Patricia makes a good point. Many religious people are not worried about damnation, or motivated by fear. Mystics of many different religious traditions have found a “happy place” (that’s meant to be flippant and funny, so don’t tear me apart :)) were they are in touch with the highest level of consciousness (whether you perceive that as involving God or not). This is a noble pursuit I believe.

    Michel, you are correct in your criticism of my professor story. I am not here to battle evil atheists, or to prove God exists. Your motivation I presume (I’m sorry to have to make this speculation) is to improve society by removing the irrationality of religion. Mine is to encourage dialog and reduce intolerance in society. We are working towards a similar end, yours is just further along than mine.

    As Richard points out above the UCC joining the campaign is a vote against the religious right. Be glad for the support even if it comes from friends who are not entirely rational.

  4. > Bassic said: The UCC action is …a welcome to a website where these questions are regularly discussed. You speak of confidence in beliefs. The UCC has many more questions than answers and we are confident we will be enriched by discussing them.

    Given the lack of proof of any god, 3-O (omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent) or otherwise, there seems to me to be little point in any ‘discussion’ of the concept of a god (even though I’m doing that, here, since the topic has been raised). I refer you to Stenger’s excellent “The God Hypothesis” for a very complete, scientific demolition of all the arguments for any type of god, in which he shows conclusively that the probability of any type of god existing is vanishingly small. Any court would throw out arguments for god(s) on that basis alone. A reasonable juror would not, on the balance of the evidence before them, accept that the mooted god(s) exist(s), since the arguments against are so much more compelling.

    My post was simply to note the apparently knee-jerk response by UCC. If it had confidence in its god, there would be no need nor desire to ‘respond’ to the current bus campaign. As, one by one, science debunks the tenets of organised religion and individual beliefs in god(s), the believing seem to find and cling to more and more desperate rationalisations (like “discussion is a good thing”) to explain (or justify) why the thinking and believing parts of their brains have trouble talking to each other. Maybe it’s a bit like the brain hemispheres in the depressed not talking to each other, until antidepressants are used (NO, I’m not saying believers are depressed, I’m saying there seems to be a strange mechanism in the brain where belief seems to be able to trump rational thought that is founded upon evidence. I don’t know what that mechanism/wall is, but it seems, as in depression, to exist. Otherwise, I’m at a loss as to why otherwise rational people think irrationally on this matter).

    >And it was the United Church magazine The Observer that sponsored the Darwin exhibit at the ROM when no one else would go near it with a ten foot pole for fear of offending creationists.

    THAT, I respect. :-)

  5. Michel – you are living with much hatred – and you have explained this hatred with much passion. I do not believe in a church that treats humans this way. So I reject all churches.
    “There is probably no God, so stop worrying and enjoy Life.” You should try this then. Maybe it will help.

  6. Here is my belief. “Into the vacuum Ein Sof (The Infinite) emanated a ray of light, channeled through vessels. At first, everything went smoothly; but as the emanation proceeded, some of the vessels could not withstand the power of the light, and they shattered. Most of the light returned to its infinite source, but the rest fell as sparks, along with the shards of the vessels. Eventually, these sparks became trapped in material existence. The human task is to liberate, or raise, these sparks, to restore them to divinity. This process of tiqqun (repair or mending) is accomplished through living a life of holiness. All human actions either promote or impede tiqqun, thus hastening or delaying the arrival of the Messiah. In a sense, the Messiah is fashioned by our ethical and spiritual activity. Luria’s teaching resonates with one of Franz Kafka’s paradoxical sayings: “The Messiah will come only when he is no longer necessary; he will come only on the day after his arrival.” The messiah comes when you discover him. So don’t worry and enjoy life.

  7. As I have tried to explain. You are that messiah. You are that God realized or unrealized. Kinetic and Potential energy. God is not in charge of heaven or hell. You are. You live in a hell or a heaven of your own making. I said “You are gods. You are all Sons of the Most High.” But you will die like mere men; Psalms 82:6, John 10:34
    Michel – believe it or not, you are divine. You are that same God that you are denying.
    Jesus tried to express this and was crucified for it. To the leaders of that church, it was Blasphemy. But it is the Truth. Jesus lived with prostitutes and Tax collectors and died with thieves. The Church today would crucify him all over again. “On that day you will realize that I am in the Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.”

  8. “You are that messiah. You are that God realized or unrealized.”

    No, no, no, I am the eggman. I am the walrus. Kookoocajoo.

  9. Offgrid says ” Jesus lived with prostitutes and Tax collectors and died with thieves” Now really stop worrying and enjoy your life!

  10. Michel, I just re-read some of the thread, and I am sorry I missed your post about your teenage experience. I may not be rational (associating with the UCC and all), but stories like that incense me. I hope you can understand that we at the UCC have no place for hate like that.

    Shalom, Bassic

  11. lol, offgrid tulse was just quoting you!!! He wasn’t agreeing lmao

    You are just too much fun, what with your definition of god being an offshoot of apes know as homo sapiens.
    I really don’t think that most people consider the definition of god to be homo sapiens. You should really clarify what you think a god is, before people assume you mean an omnipotent being who created the universe.

  12. The ads are purposeless. This is only going to get people fighting. There is no point to these ads but to create conterversy, do you really think we need more of that? If we were supposed to live our lives however we please than there are going to be alot more pregnant single mothers, more std’s, and more AIDS. Our world will just become focused on living for ourselves instead of helping each other.

  13. Bassic, I have to admit in all fairness that the UCC is NOT like that. My partner of 33 years (we got married three years ago when it became legal, before that we were living in sin and in a condo :-)) sometimes goes to a UCC and sometimes I go with him just for us to be together, like on Christmas eve or even on an ordinary Sunday. So I am an atheist who can stand the UCC, I guess. Maybe that alone is some form of dialogue.

  14. Jesus lived with prostitutes and tax collectors? Say, my spouse works for Revenue Canada. Does that make me Christ-like :-)

  15. By Saying that, ” God PROBABLY does not exist”, implies that there is a Chance that he does.

    God is Good!
    The word “God” = the word “Good”
    God and Good are the same word and both words mean the same thing.
    The only difference between the words God & Good is “o” which is Zero, Nothing!

    God is a Spirit, A Spirit, So Powerfully Good, Giving and Bursting with Love, that it Exploded to create the Massive Heavens, which extend for eternity. All,…created from Nothing!

    Out of the Gazillions of Round Lights, which are seen in the Night Skies and the unseen Round Planets and Round Moons which revolve around those “Stars”, even including the non-spherical pieces which can be seen, at times, as Shooting Stars,

    EARTH is the only Speck, that God placed, ever so precisely, to support the Creation of Life.

    God created Good, and God created Bad! There is Good and Bad in all of us.

    When people are born, they are Good and Pure. The bad is merely a Deviance from God, and it is learned, after birth!

    The Spirit, “God” LIVES in each and every person. God is ALIVE, and has always been alive, in ALL that has been created.

    All People feel, that God (Good), is living in their soul, in varying degrees from “Zero”, to the Amount that The Blessed Virgin Mary felt, SO, as to nurture it to her Son, “ Jesus Christ “, who gave his Life out of Pure Love for all People.

    Jesus professed that he was the Son of God, and indeed he was!

    But he was no more God’s Son than each and every one of God’s Creations! The only difference is the fact that God chose Mary and Jesus, and gave them the Ultimate Wisdom and Good Spirit to teach and spread the WORD of God, from their Inspiration.

    Jesus died so that the Sins of the People of the world would be taken away!
    YET, the sins keep going on! The Bad is manifesting over the Good.

    Jesus died merely because, he PROFESSED to be the Son of God, in essence God Himself. It was because of his Proclamation that he was crucified! His life was TAKEN from him, by Bad people, so as to stop the the Manifestation of God’s Goodness throughout the world!

    God is a Spirit, the Spirit of GOODNESS, which is in all People.

    God is not a White Haired, White Bearded Man, wearing a White Robe, walking with a Staff down a hill with a flock of Sheep.

    God is YOU!
    You the people are God!
    God created Man so that God’s Spirit could Live!

    God will come Again, when he see’s that we are worthy to receive him.

    But we better get Snappin’. Because the Judgment is VERY Near. THIS YEAR !!

    More to come………….Lot’s More LOL

  16. Leann, what you are preaching is quite wrong. In post #64 you say: “If we were supposed to live our lives however we please than there are going to be alot more pregnant single mothers, more std’s, and more AIDS. Our world will just become focused on living for ourselves instead of helping each other.”

    What you are implying, without saying it, is that we need religion (and possibly the stick of Hell and the carrot of Heaven) to be good, moral people. In fact, religion is NOT the source of morality or even necessary to live a moral life.

    First of all, if religion were necessary for morality, then our prisons would be filled with agnostics and atheists, who, laching any religion, would be incapable of living morally, and would necessarily commit crimes. In point of fact, atheists have LOWER crime rates that the rest of the population.

    You mention STDs. It has been shown over and over that the “red states” in the US, where people are far more religious (and conservative republican) have a higher rate of STDs, teen pregnancies and a higher crime rate than the “blue states” where people are far less religious.

    Did you know that countries like Norway, where an estimated 75-85% of the population is atheist, have far LOWER crime rates than religious countries like the USA?

    Morality does NOT come from the Bible either. If you go by the Bible, slavery is all right, including selling your own daughter into slavery. On the other hand, where does it say in the Bible that cruelty to animals is wrong, or that you shouldn’t beat your children? Nowhere! The Bible actually encourages people to beat their children saying “Spare the rod and spoil the child”.

    The Bible also tells us to kill homosexuals, and even to kill people who work on Sunday.

    So don’t pretend that religion is necessary for morality.

  17. To atheists on this site who decry the possibility of rational dialogue with (in this case) members of the United Church of Canada, I would invite you to consider the possibility of non-theism or non-realism – the idea that one can have a religious orientation without positing the existence of a supernatural being “out there.” I also invite you to check out Gretta Vosper’s response to David Giuliano (moderator of the United Church). Vosper is a minister in the United Church who thinks both positions in this ad campaign are pointless distractions from more pressing issues. You video of her delivering her response here: http://www.warmplace.ca or grad a copy of her press release here: *link to untrusted document removed*

  18. I think it is important that we all respect one another. I have been a member of the untied church since my birth. Personally I do not know what I believe anymore. I like the version from the united church. They said there is probably a god, leaving room for discussion. By not saying for sure that there is a god they are not pushing thier views the same way that the athiest group is by saying there is NO god. I think people need to remain open, or atleast respectful, of others views. Either way both ads say something of validity that I think we should all pay attention to. If these ads are now left alone the debate will die and peole can live their lives as they want. “Now stop worrying and enjoy life.”

  19. Well, let’s try this again.

    If the Freethought Association of Canada ad is to encourage people to engage each other in constructive, non-zero-sum game dialogue, then everything is copacetic.

    If people are there to prove something, are in their “Young Turk” stage, or don’t believe in what all of our mothers taught us, that tis better to play *well with* others than to play *with* others, that is unfortunate.

    I hope both ads will encourage people to create their own ads, exploring their own imaginations and, like has been happening in Wondercafe all the time, to examine universe in all its wonder.

  20. wondercafeguest wrote:

    Hello all, I did try to post a comment on atheistbus.ca …The very witty counter slogan was something like this: [witty?]

    “The bad news is that atheists exist [albeit not in the strict sense of the term]. The good news is that one day they will have to face God.” …


  21. Hey all — Just posted on my blog http://www.dkwrites.blogspot.com/
    a ‘continuation of the discussion’ Justin Trottier called for in his Ottawa Citizen editorial today (feb. 18). Full disclosure: I’m a Christian who would have welcomed the ads on Ottawa buses.

    Just one question, and I really hope I haven’t missed this somewhere, but where did the text of these ads come from?

    Frankly, I’m confused by it and would love to hear — preferably from someone on the inside of the campaign — where it came from. Why, how, etc., please!

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